An expanded US military involvement awaits a new US president in Afghanistan where the unfinished business of September 11 has flared over the past three years into a major insurgency. A raft of assessments and reviews now underway in Washington point to a fundamental rethinking of the Afghan war. But whoever is elected Tuesday will face choices on the size of the military buildup, how to strengthen the central government, how far to go in dealing with insurgent sanctuaries across the border, how to help stabilize Pakistan, and whether and how to reconcile with the Taliban, analysts say. "In my view they are going to find in Afghanistan a situation that is dire and getting worse," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official with long experience in the region. The momentum, he said, is now with the Taliban, which in the past year has expanded the battlefield from southern Afghanistan to the east and even to the outskirts of Kabul. Unrest could spread to new areas this winter because of an acute food shortage arising from a drought, he said. The combination of hunger and bad security is "an explosive mix," he added. "I think the question of getting additional forces into Afghanistan is one that is going to have to be made right away. There is very little room for extended policy review on this. This is a crisis that's immediate," he said. Both Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, and John McCain, his Republican rival, agree more US troops are needed, even at the risk of alienating Afghans with a larger, more intrusive military presence. But it is unclear how many more troops ultimately will be required, or how soon they can be provided. General David McKiernan, the top US commander in Afghanistan, insists he needs three more combat brigades and thousands of support troops -- up to 20,000 additional troops -- on top of a combat brigade being sent in January. The Pentagon has said the additional troops must await further drawdowns in Iraq, however. So, the next president will have to decide which comes first -- Iraq or Afghanistan. Afghanistan's problems begin with security, but do not end there, analysts say. The reviews now under way, however, are seen as a sign that Washington is giving the situation serious attention, and that the incoming president will benefit."Getting policy toward Islamabad right will be absolutely critical for the next administration -- and very difficult," said Richard Holbrooke, writing in Foreign Affairs.